Fantasy Premier League (FPL) Gameweek 18 is here, and it’s time to make some crucial decisions for your fantasy team. In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with all the essential tips, differentials, and captain options to help you navigate through this gameweek successfully.
Gameweek 17 Review
Let’s begin by reviewing the standout performers from Gameweek 17. Burn was the top player according to the Custom Stats xFPL table, with a score of 15.3. He had two shots in the box, both of which were classified as ‘big chances’ (BC), and he managed to land both of his efforts on target. Palmer from Chelsea also had an impressive performance, taking five shots, two of which were in the box, and creating two BC, resulting in an xFPL score of 13.4.
In terms of creativity, Alexander-Arnold and Paqueta stood out with six attempted assists each. Despite Paqueta registering a lower xFPL score than Alexander-Arnold (9.5 vs. 7.4), he managed to notch three assists. Salah, although unlucky not to deliver, took the most shots in the game (six) and attempted five assists. However, his lack of BC involvement resulted in a low xFPL score of 5.2. Kudus was the top FPL scorer of the weekend with 16 points, scoring both of his shots in the box and attempting just one assist, giving him a relatively low xFPL score of 8.9.
Before we delve into the Gameweek 18 analysis, it’s crucial to understand what xFPL is. xFPL is calculated using expected goals (xG), assists (xA), and expected clean sheets (xCS). These metrics are derived from underlying statistics such as shot type and location, which determine the probability of scoring (xG). xFPL combines these statistics, taking into account appearances and bonus points, to provide an overall expected FPL point score.
Early Transfer Activity
Taking a look at the early transfer activity for Gameweek 18, Watkins is the most popular transfer target, with over 200,000 managers already bringing him in. Palmer and Solanke have also seen significant interest, with over 150,000 transfers each after finding the back of the net in Gameweek 17. Interestingly, Porro and Leno are the only defensive assets to make the top eight transfers in.
It’s worth noting that Manchester City and Brentford will blank in Gameweek 18 due to Manchester City’s participation in the Club World Cup. As a result, four of the top five sold assets, including Haaland, J. Alvarez, Mbeumo, and Doku, come from these two teams. In terms of forward transfers, Watkins accounts for four of the top ten transfer combinations and nearly 50% of all forward transfers. In midfield, Palmer dominates with five of the top ten combinations, while Richarlison and Son are also popular choices. As for defense, all of the top ten defender transfer combinations involve Porro, with Tsimikas, Udogie, R. James, Trippier, and Cash making way.
Kudus vs. Gordon vs Palmer
Two players who have caught the attention of FPL managers going into Gameweek 18 are Kudus and Gordon. Over the last six Gameweeks, Kudus has outscored Gordon by five FPL points, averaging 6.7 points per game. Kudus has scored three goals compared to Gordon’s two during this period. However, when we analyze the underlying numbers, Gordon emerges as the more promising asset.
Gordon has a higher expected goals (xG) value of 1.71 compared to Kudus’ 0.97. He has also taken more shots (16 vs. 12), more shots in the box (eight vs. five), attempted more assists (10 vs. eight), and created more big chances (three vs. two) than Kudus. Additionally, it’s important to consider that Kudus will be unavailable after Gameweek 20 due to his participation in the African Cup of Nations. Based on this data, Gordon appears to be the better option for Gameweek 18 and beyond.
Palmer’s Rising Popularity and Season Performance
Although Palmer’s price tag is a mere £5.6m, surprisingly, he is only present in 21% of squads. However, this number is expected to soar as Mohamed Salah and Son Heung-min depart for international duties in the upcoming Gameweeks. Palmer’s statistics speak for themselves, as he is currently third among midfielders in terms of points since his full debut in Gameweek 7, trailing only Salah and Son. With six goals and four assists during this period, Palmer has showcased his impressive goal involvements and has an average of 6.8 points per start, equaling that of the highly regarded Erling Haaland.
Palmer’s All-Round Influence and Underlying Statistics
Palmer’s impact on the Chelsea attack goes beyond his goal involvements. When examining the underlying statistics, his numbers are among the top eight players from Gameweek 7 onwards. With 28 shots, eight big chances, 13 shots on target, and six big chances created, Palmer’s contribution to the team is undeniable. These statistics further emphasize the need for FPL managers to consider including him in their starting XI.